Personality, Strengths, and Social Style: Ties to Adler’s Tasks of Life
The Faculty of the Adler Graduate School
In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for
the Degree of Master of Arts in
Adlerian Counseling and Psychotherapy
new job. Without knowing Adlerian psychology or being in graduate school, the writer knew
that feelings of belonging were vital to a human existence. While being on a staff of a wide
variety of people, it became clear that the management wanted everyone to be included but did
not know how. The constant striving for perfection the writer felt combined with not knowing
how to belong in a group created unhappiness. Having explored the Myers-Briggs personality
inventory in high school and having taken the Strengths Finder at the beginning of the job, the
writer started to understand personality and unique strengths.
Another Adlerian concept that the writer knew before learning Adlerian was the concept of life
tasks. The writer had always prioritized balance between work and life outside of work. The
writer was able to leave work at the job, leave on time, and manage a highly effective schedule.
As it turns out, according to Adler, these are the life tasks (work, social, and love). This paper
will have the work task as the lens but will also include the other two tasks and how all three are
affected by personality, strengths, and social style.
Table of Contents
realizing their potentialities. When people’s tendency toward self-realization is allowed
expression, we become free to grow ourselves, we also free ourselves to love and to feel concern
for other people, the ideal is the liberation and cultivation of the forces which lead to self
realization” (Linley & Harrington, 2006, p. 40). When people are allowed the freedom to
express themselves, grow, expand, and develop, many great things can happen. Unfortunately,
this does not always work out. Small children are fostered to grow and develop as their unique
selves. At what age does this stop? When does society begin to stifle the personal part of
growing up? Strengths are developed in youth and carried into adulthood, but when does the
child become part of a generalized “who I am supposed to be” profile?
“Playing to our strengths enhances well-being because we are doing what we naturally do
best and generating feelings of autonomy, competence, confidence, and self-esteem” (Linley &
Harrington, 2006, p. 42). Allowing an infant, a toddler, a child, a teenager, or an adult the
freedom and knowledge to use their strengths can be powerful. It can open up a whole world of
Strengths are natural, they come from within, and we are urged to use them, develop
them and to play to them by an inner, energizing desire. Further when we use our
strengths, we feel good about ourselves, we feel better able to achieve things, and we are
working toward fulfilling our potential (Linley & Harrington, 2006, p. 41).
What happens when some or all of this is ignored? One of the most glaringly obvious
places it can and is ignored is the work place. This writer has seen and experienced many
examples of work place breakdowns and after many years of observation decided to investigate